Leadership is an incredibly important character trait in both sports and in IT.
I loved it when Mike Singletary called out his QBs earlier this year for their lack of leadership. It is vital that your QB be a leader, and he was right in calling out the Smiths for their lack of leadership. Neither of them inspired their teammates. Neither of them provided the confidence that their teammates needed.
Earlier this year, in Denver, we saw a perfect example. Orton was throwing for the numbers, but when it came to crunch time (3rd and long and in the red zone), he just couldn’t get it done. He didn’t charge up his teammates. He didn’t inspire them. He didn’t install confidence. When Tebow played the last three games of the year, he showed exactly what a leader is like to have at the QB position. You could see the team get charged up when he was under center. The team responded when Tebow got dirty and played hard like a football player rather than some pampered QB.
In IT, leadership is also extremely important. I have seen way too many companies that don’t have strong leadership in IT and they struggle because the others, Admins and Developers, don’t feel inspired or even feel the confidence from up high. Leaders help the people in the company become better at their jobs. Leaders provide challenges and also provide the net to help save somebody that falls short while in learning situations. Leaders provide the proper processes and the proper mentoring to help others succeed.
I strongly suggest that we all strive to be better leaders by doing the following:
- Challenge your co-workers and subordinates by delegating more tasks.
- Be there to support your co-workers and subordinates when they engage difficult tasks and provide them the support needed so they can succeed.
- Mentor your co-workers and subordinates by explaining how you would attack difficult problems and by walking them through decisions.
- Mentor your co-workers and subordinates by helping plan professional growth.
- Provide structure for others to help them – for example, provide good change control templates to make sure that everyone thinks through the processes and involves everyone in the discussions.
- Provide feedback and focus on the positives.
- Thank your co-workers and subordinates for doing their tasks right and on time.
- Praise your co-workers and subordinates around others.
Information Technology isn’t just about the geek factor.